eCite Digital Repository

Experimental evolution meets marine phytoplankton


Reusch, TBH and Boyd, PW, Experimental evolution meets marine phytoplankton, Evolution, 67, (7) pp. 1849-1859. ISSN 0014-3820 (2013) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Author(s)

DOI: doi:10.1111/evo.12035


Our perspective highlights potentially important links between disparate fields—biological oceanography, climate change research, and experimental evolutionary biology. We focus on one important functional group—photoautotrophic microbes (phytoplankton), which are responsible for ∼50% of global primary productivity. Global climate change currently results in the simultaneous change of several conditions such as warming, acidification, and nutrient supply. It thus has the potential to dramatically change phytoplankton physiology, community composition, and may result in adaptive evolution. Although their large population sizes, standing genetic variation, and rapid turnover time should promote swift evolutionary change, oceanographers have focussed on describing patterns of present day physiological differentiation rather than measure potential adaptation in evolution experiments, the only direct way to address whether and at which rate phytoplankton species will adapt to environmental change. Important open questions are (1) is adaptation limited by existing genetic variation or fundamental constraints? (2) Will complex ecological settings such as gradual versus abrupt environmental change influence adaptation processes? (3) How will increasing environmental variability affect the evolution of phenotypic plasticity patterns? Because marine phytoplankton species display rapid acclimation capacity (phenotypic buffering), a systematic study of reaction norms renders them particularly interesting to the evolutionary biology research community.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:adaptation, global change, phenotypic plasticity, selection—experimental
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology)
Objective Division:Environmental Policy, Climate Change and Natural Hazards
Objective Group:Adaptation to climate change
Objective Field:Climate change adaptation measures (excl. ecosystem)
UTAS Author:Boyd, PW (Professor Philip Boyd)
ID Code:95522
Year Published:2013
Web of Science® Times Cited:98
Deposited By:IMAS Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2014-10-03
Last Modified:2018-02-05

Repository Staff Only: item control page